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Authorities seeing uptick in concealed carry permit applications

LANCASTER, P.A. --- Longer lines of people are waiting inside sheriffs' offices in central Pennsylvania to renew or get a concealed carry permits.

In Lancaster County, the filled seats remind Sheriff Chris Leppler of a sight more than five years ago following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012.

"If you look at those stats back then, that is kind of repeating, right now. Not to the extent that it was back then but it's repeating itself now," said Sheriff Leppler.

For perspective, Leppler said the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office does an average of 30 to 60 permits per day.

In the three to four months following the Sandy Hook shooting, they did 150 to 180 permits per day.

Pennsylvania requires concealed carry permit holders to renew their license every five years.

Leppler said some those who got their permits after Sandy Hook are renewing alongside new applicants, causing the bigger crowds.

"We don't have nearly as many coming back in to get the renewals but there is an uptick in the actual new concealed carry permit applicants," said Leppler.

An uptick can be seen across central Pennsylvania following the Parkland, Florida high school shooting on Valentine's Day.

The Lebanon County Sheriff's Office said they saw concealed carry permit applications triple last Friday, February 23.

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said they've seen double the average of new concealed carriers applying..

In Dauphin County, authorities say they've seen a "major increase" in new applications..

New applicant Rick Boyd said he wanted to get a permit simply to be able to carry, legally.

"Personal protection, I think, would be probably most peoples' biggest reason," said Boyd.

Richard Jacobs said he believe national incidents provide a spark for those thinking of renewing or getting a permit.

"With everything that's been going on, people say there are too many guns...at a lot of these places, there's one gun not enough," said Jacobs.

John Paxson said  he believes it's the case of having it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

"I think while a lot of people are confidence in the law enforcement agencies, they also know that, at times, there's no one around when things are happening," said Paxson.

The process of getting a concealed carry permit requires bringing a ID, filling out an application and paying a $20 fee.

Leppler said they do a background check with the Pennsylvania State Police Instant Check System.

He also said the checks can take anywhere from five minutes to five days before approving someone for a permit.